I am a multi-tasker. No, strike that, I am a champion multi-tasker. If multi-tasking was an Olympic event I would probably have more medals than Michael Phelps (but in all honesty, I wouldn’t be as fun to watch. Swimmers have a lot more muscles than multi-taskers.)
I thrive on the little high I get when I do several things at the same time. The more things I can combine, the happier I become. Why just pick up the four year old at preschool? Instead I can drop the books off at the library, pick up the dry cleaning, and then go to the preschool without driving a single block out of my way. Why go upstairs for a sweater when you can put away clean towels, organize sock drawers, and then grab that sweater without taking more than a few extra steps?
I hate waste of any kind. In my head multitasking means less wasted time, less wasted steps, and less wasted energy. At least in theory.
Today, however, that theory was severely shaken.
It was already a busy morning. I needed to take the four year old to my friend’s house for preschool delivery before picking up my mother and taking her to the airport. Not to mention there were prepositional phrases to discuss, long division to introduce, and piano to practice.
A full morning you would agree. However, I couldn’t shut off that little voice in my head saying I should do just one more thing. (You’d think I would have learned to ignore that little voice by now, but sadly I haven’t.)
I was tempted beyond what I could bear with the knowledge that our family’s favorite cereal was on sale at Walgreens for an exceptionally low price. An exceptionally low price that guaranteed it would be out of stock if we waited until the afternoon to visit the store.
The little voice inside my head casually mentioned that there were TWO Walgreens on the way to my friend’s house. That meant TWO opportunities to buy the coveted cereal. Surely I could squeeze those visits into my schedule. They were right on the way and I call myself a champion multi-tasker, don’t I?
To cut an extremely long story hardly at all, imagine the following scenario in your head:
Despite my time budgeting skills, I find myself running a late after making the two stops at Walgreens. While glancing at the clock for the fifteenth time, I notice what I think is a spider. I scream, lifting my foot off the brake and hands off the steering wheel, only to notice my friend’s garage is much too close for comfort. Despite my wild Mario Andretti skills I find myself noisily scraping the edge of her garage with my bumper.
Time almost slows to a stop as I sit in denial saying “I didn’t just do that!” several times in a row, only to have all three of my children answer, “Yes, yes you did.”
Fortunately, my friend comes out laughing, having seen it all through her window, and forgives me before I even ask. (She is a very good friend.) She maintains that if she squints her eyes, she can’t even see the damage on the garage. (She is also a very good liar.)
I, however, have learned a very important lesson. Multi-tasking does not always save you time, and it can end up costing you money when taken too far. It can also make your car bumper look like this:
Oh gentle readers, learn from my cereal induced destruction. There is such a thing as too much multi-tasking.